This week’s blog post consists of some ‘live’ musings and observations on spiritual practices, derived from my walk on Earth Day, written while on my favorite trail. Hope you enjoy!
Friday, April 22 was Earth Day. So, rain or not over the past three days, there was no question that I was going to walk the trail that I walk every Friday. Thinking that my regular route would be really wet, I decided to go clockwise instead of my usual anti-clockwise route. This led to perhaps my slowest walk around the trail ever… partly because of the wetness of the earth, to the extent that much of the trail seems almost impassable. I had to walk the edges, sinking in mud on occasions, but I kept going. Practice? You may need to slow down on occasion , particularly on unfamiliar routes, but keep walking.
I almost turned around in retreat, until I saw a small bridge in the distance – this meant that I could go to slightly higher ground and then double back over the bridge, back onto the path, about a quarter mile downstream. My walk could continue, instead of me having to retreat. As I walked, I was grateful for the person who had the foresight to put the two disparate pieces of wood together to create the makeshift bridge. Practice? Be a bridge-builder when you can. You never know who will benefit from it.
Some beautiful blues and greens came into view, which made me pause, even kneel on one knee at times… to watch, and gently touch the new leaves emerging from buds. Yes, I am welcomed by the tiniest of thorns too, as I gently hold the edge of a soft branch swaying in the wind in order to still it – so that I can take a better portrait! Practice? With new growth will come thorns too – there are blessings in them all.
The pond is gorgeously clear after all the rain of the past few days… and the Sun rising above the tall trees scatters through some of the clouds, spraying whiteness everywhere, as I marvel at the next bridge that is going to take me across… Practice? Look in all directions as you walk, and occasionally upwards too.
And as I pause on the other side of the second bridge, looking at the sun, I am right upfront with a tree that is already flowering. The faintest scent of the flowers awakens me yet again to a different sensation – a reminder that truth, awareness and bliss are everywhere to be found – that is the reality that we need faith in, along with faith in our path and faith in our guide(s) – when we have all three, then there isn’t any energy in the universe that can stop us from rising. Practice? Be ready for surprises. They will often come when you are in alignment with faith.
The lake is amazingly still and full of light. A bench by the lake invites me to sit. I accept, and sit, and wait for any geese or ducks to show up and swim in the empty lake. After a while, a single goose walks up to the shore in the distance, enters the water, and takes ownership of the lake. His swimming sends ripples through the stillness of the surface, changing the nature of the reflections within it. And then, a little bit later, perhaps encouraged by the goose, a pair of mallard ducks leaves their refuge along the shore and decide to take a swim too… safety in numbers? When one decides to be brave, others get courage… Practice? Watch the ripples and disturbances of the mind – stillness and clarity go together.
And now, as I’m ready to finish the walk, it’s time for two tiny swallows to practice skimming, and even dive the lake’s surface… more ripples, more spreading of joy, more emergence of sunlight from beyond the solitary cloud as the breeze warms up a bit as it picks up speed… but the windmill by the lake barely moves – it is still largely unimpressed. Practice? Keep your heart open and you fill find joy rush in through the smallest of things.
As I was finally leaving, another tree and her blooms invited me closer – and I literally walked up to her and laid my face ever so gently into the arms of the flowers – it felt so soft, loving and gentle – a beautiful reminder that the Earth and her love for us knows no bounds. All we need to do is pause, embrace and remember.
As I returned home to a book that I had received as a gift on my recent India trip, this message about spiritual practices came from my post-walk reading…
“The real spiritual training is which makes our mind disciplined and regulated, restores moderation in senses and faculties, and creates lightness of spirit. Then alone internal peace and calmness is ensured and a higher approach is possible.” – Babuji in Reality at Dawn
I wish you all the best in your spiritual practices. I hope that they bring you internal peace and calmness as you move higher. Namaste.
P.S. join us for our weekly twitter chat with the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday April 24 at 9amET / 630pm India. We will discuss spiritual practices – old and new, simple and complex over tea, cookies and questions. Namaste – @AjmaniK